Recommend Me A Computer Strategy Game

Prompted by the new BBC2 programme Time Commanders I have a hankering to have a go at a game of something similar. Either on PC or PS2.

What I’m looking for is a historically-accurate military type strategy game, with a fair bit of intelligence on the part of the computer opponent. I’d also consider anything with an online dimension to it.

What I’m not looking for overly is tedious insistance on boring detail, anything that requires 6 months of my life before I start to get anywhere, shoot-em-up arcade episodes or dungeons & dragons fantasy.

Any recommendations?

The Panzer General series is an accesible strategy game based on WW2 battles. (I have only played PG2).

I have heard good things about Combat Mission but haven’t played it.

Try the Close Combat series from Atomic Games. More tactics than strategy and quite respected by fans of military games.

Personally, I’d recommend the General’s Challenge in Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour. Not exactly historically accurate but definitely a mean bastard of an opponent. Basically, you start with a construction yard while your enemy gets a fully equipped base. He taunts you and attacks constantly while you’re trying to get your base built. Around the time you’ve got a good defense set up, he hauls out the superweapons. Very very challenging stuff. I haven’t beat the computer in General’s Challenge yet and I’ve been an RTS gamer for years.

Combat Mission 2: Barbarossa to Berlin has garnered some rave reviews as having a clever mix of strategy with a straightforward learning curve. It’s certainly graphically appealing, and has a convincing level of detail (you can choose to view labels that indicate the point at which every shell hits, and read the precise effects). I’m trying it at the moment; the historical scope may be a little limited (Germans vs Russians from 1941 to 1945), but having a configurable battle generator, map editor and the like does give it longevity.

You want more realistic War strategy look no further than:

Medieval Total War. Get the expansion (viking invasion) for a combined total of less than a new game (the game is about a year/year and a half old).

Also look for Rome Total War later this year (I believe).

The main draw on this game is the tactical real time combat. Unlike games such as War Craft and Command & Conquer: Generals were you are given a handful of units to send careening unto oncoming baddies, MTW gives you command of a medieval army numbering in the thousands.

You’ll have to use formations and real world tactics to win. You’ll have to worry about your soldier’s fatigue level and morale, the armament of the enemy as compared to yours (set spearmen against calvary for example), as well as the movement of the enemy on the battlefield.

It’s not that hard to get into and can be very rewarding (seeing the hordes of Saladin fleeing from my 2000 + crusader army is hecka cool!).

The only real drawback is the engine itself which is dated. Don’t expect jaw dropping graphics, but overall, they’re not bad.

Rome Total War sports a new 3d graphics engine, can’t wait for that!

The Total War series are pretty realistic. There is one set in feudal Japan, and a sequel in medieval Europe. The battles are real-time, but they aren’t click-fests like most RTS games because the pace is a lot slower and because you order hundreds of troops at once, instead of having to worry about commanding individual units.

Rise Of Nations

Stone age through information age. Advance from pike men to ICBM’s with nuke warheads on them.

I love RoN, but I didn’t recomend it because the combat is pretty unrealistic and the general flow of the game is very ahistorical. It’s a really fun game, but doesn’t quite match the OPs criteria.

I will third Medieval: Total War, and recommend Europa Universalis 2, which is more realistic, but doesn’t have real time battles between huge armies.

Not really historically accurate, but certainly an interesting and difficult game to play is Stronghold. Starting in a land where the king’s authority has been usurped by four different individuals, you get to conquer each one of them. It’s a mideval (sp) setting, and it’s not a zerg festival of army launching. Each mission can be fairly different from the next, but things you do are:

Build up defenses and repel siege attacks by the enemy

Manage your popularity with the peasents through taxes, different food sources, religion and ale. Popularity IS important: if it goes too low, your peasents leave you and you’re screwed.

Gather raw rescources to bring to your shops to make bread, weapons, ale and armor as well as collect wood and stone for walls and towers.

Use engineers to dump pitch on the enemy from your walls, or use them to carry ladders to breach enemy walls, or create ballista and catapaults to smash them down to bits.

Stronghold has no magic or sorcery of any kind. Basically it’s take what you’ve got and use it to win, or die.

On a final note, something that IS of historical significance in the game, you can opt to play one time scenarios based on historical attacks and you can be either the attacker or the besieged.

Not for the zerglings generated by games such as Warcraft and Starcraft, Stronghold requires forethought and strategy, especially in certain scenarios where you’re attacking the enemy with a certain amount of troops and THAT’S ALL YOU GET.

I’m tempted to get the add on, Stronghold: Crusades but I opted for Once Upon a Knight, a game not as silly as I thought it would be :frowning:


Another plug for the Total War games. You’ve got a combination of slow, turn based strategic planning on a world map and battlefield tactical planning. It makes other “strategy” games look like frantic clickfests.

I used to like games like AOE2, but it got old when epic battles consisted of about 70 troop forces. Total War made those games passe’, methinks. Nothin’ like marching on to the Papal States with a jihad army of 4000 desert warriors. :slight_smile:

I think I’ll give Medieval Total War a go.

Thanks for all the replies. You have won yourselves mercy when kindom spans the known world and my armies massacre all others before them!

On the subject of Time Commanders (which the BBC have so far failed to give any significant presence on their web-site), you should all watch out for it, supposing it does make it to BBC America.

It’s a re-enactment of an historical battle, with a group of contestants who aren’t war gamers. They decide their strategy and command structure, then convey their wishes to the computer operators while the action unfolds. They invariably get wiped out. Then a couple of military historians tell them where they went wrong and show what happened in reality. Last week it was Hannibal winning against a Roman army that far outnumbered him.

Except I might have myself a kingdom rather than a kindom. That might be more impressive, don’t you think? :smack:

I believe that Time Commanders is in fact using the Total War engine, which should give you some idea of what can be done with it. Occasionally they give a close up of one of the technicians actually playing the game.

I’ve heard that the various games in the series are great, though I haven’t got around to buying one myself.

I recomend “Hearts of Iron”, it’s a world diplomatic and military game set between January 1936 and December 1946.

It’s by the same company as “Europa Universalis” and with patches installed is really very good indeed.

All the other games mentioned are really more tatical simulations with a bit of strategic gameplay bolted on. “Europa Universalis” and “Hearts of Iron” are the complete reverse. A Strategic simulation with a bit of tactical gameplay bolted on.

Go for Europa Universalis II. Play Luxemburg. Loose and enjoy it. :slight_smile:
As others have mentioned it is weighted to “Grand Strategy” rather than tatical movements of armies.